The Agritourism Connection April 2014

Dora Ann Hatch  |  4/14/2014 7:29:22 PM

Agritourism

Agritourism, a business venture on a working farm, ranch or agricultural enterprise, is growing in popularity throughout the United States. Agritourism blends entertainment, education and tourism together to provide a fun, exciting and memorable get-away for school trips and family outings. This website provides educational resources to assist new and existing entrepreneurs in developing, expanding and improving their agritourism ventures.

In This Edition

Topics covered in this newsletter include: recognition of Thornwell by Louisiana House of Representatives as the Yellow Rail Capital of the World and Home of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival; registering farmers markets online; Louisiana Direct Seafood; international tourists; Women in Agriculture Farm Tour; and Annie’s Project.

Thornwell Recognized by Louisiana House of Representatives as Yellow Rail Capital of the World and Home of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival

Rep. John E. Guinn recently proposed a resolution before the Louisiana House of Representatives to name Thornwell, La., as the Yellow Rail Capital of the World and Home of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival. The 8-year-old event draws visitors to Louisiana from various other states and countries. It is the first festival with agritourism as its foundation. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor.

Register Your Farmers Market Online

Today, so many shoppers don’t have local television stations and don’t get the local newspaper, so having an online presence for your farmers market is important. Start by registering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Their directory includes market locations, operating times, product offerings and accepted forms of payment. Registration is voluntary, and you must enter your own data, but the process is easy. If you are already in the directory, you should have received an email asking for you to update your entry. If not, just log on to www.usdadirectoryupdate.com and in less than five minutes, you’re done. June 23 is the deadline. Click here for more information.

In Louisiana, contact the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry – they, too, maintain an online directory. Email or speak to Michelle Estay at 985-345-9483 to learn more. She can also provide information on the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) that allows qualified seniors to receive coupons to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey approved by the Louisiana Farmers Market Nutrition Program from farmers at approved farmers markets, roadside stands and farm stands. Act now to meet the deadline.

In addition to government sites, you should register on MarketMaker. Registration is free, and there is a special category just for farmers markets. The other interesting fact about MarketMaker is that it connects you to growers as well. So if your market needs a certain variety of produce, you can use the online surfing tool to locate a producer and invite him or her to your market. If you are traveling away from home and want fresh produce within or outside Louisiana, you may also use MarketMaker for that purpose.

Louisiana Direct Seafood

The Louisiana Direct Seafood website offers an opportunity to find and buy fresh, wild-caught seafood directly off the boat. Created in partnership with LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant, the website posts allow the visitor to see the “fresh catch” of the day and arrange for purchase. This website also provides information about the port locations. Click here for more information.

International Tourists Visit Agritourism Operations

This year more and more of our agritourism operators have reported international visitors to their farms.

Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gin in Ferriday has opened its doors to travelers from the United Kingdom, France and Belgium who want to make the connection to their homeland spinning mills where United States cotton was sent to be made into fabrics for more than 150 years.

WesMar Farms, a small goat dairy in Moreauville, is a popular destination with international travelers seeking the experience of on-farm living. In the past three years, WesMar Farms has hosted tourists from Germany, Australia, Israel, Canada, France, Belgium and England.

The Yellow Rails and Rice Festival in Thornwell has hosted numerous international visitors since 2008. Birdwatching, agriculture and the culture of the region draw these international visitors to experience life in Louisiana.

Recently, Go West Tours from California asked for suggestions on tourist attractions en route to New Orleans. Gonsoulin Land & Cattle, LLC and Eddie Romero’s Fruit Orchard were suggested, but bad weather allowed them only to visit the fruit orchard.

In January 2014, a French public broadcasting crew traveled to Louisiana to film two of our agritourism venues. They paddled with the Louisiana Delta Adventures group on the Mississippi River from St. Joseph to Waterproof, paddling by farmland under cultivation and operations on the river. After leaving the river, they traveled to Frogmore Plantation and Gin in Ferriday. To see excerpts from their travels, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI-d_6hozNY.

Louisiana Women in Agriculture Farm Tour

Mark your calendar for the Louisiana Women in Agriculture Farm Tour on May 16, 2014, in Mansura. The tour will leave at 7:45 a.m. from the Hampton Inn located at 6898 Highway 1 in Mansura, La., and will conclude at 5 p.m. at the same location.

The tour includes stops at WesMar Farms in Moreauville, D&G Frey Crawfish, LLC in Iota and Eagles' Ranch in Goudeau. The tours will provide participants with the opportunity to network with agricultural producers from across the state and learn about agritourism, goat and cattle operations, crawfish production and conservation opportunities.

Registration for the event is $30 per person, and lunch is included. Only checks will be accepted as payment.

To reserve your seat, visit the Acadiana RC&D website, email angie@acadianarcd.com or call 337-262-1776 (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday) before May 9.

Annie's Project-Registration Open for Hammond Class

Annie’s Project, an educational program dedicated to strengthening women's roles in the modern farm enterprise in Louisiana, is supported through the efforts of the Capitol and Acadiana Research Conservation and Development Council. Deborah Cross-Young, retired from the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana State Coordinator for Annie’s Project, along with Angie Fogleman, president of Acadiana Resource Conservation and Development Council, have planned and graduated two classes.

To become a graduate, participants complete six sessions which include: (1) human resources and time management; (2) business plans, property ownership and leases; (3) financial documentation, retirement, estate planning and using spreadsheets; (4) risk management, insurance and the agritourism limited liability law; and (6) financial records and how to interpret them.

A new class will begin this summer in Hammond. For details, Angie Fogleman can be contacted by calling 337-262-1776 or by emailing angie@acadianarcd.com. Deborah Cross-Young can be contacted by calling 225-281-9470 or by emailing dcross@agcenter.lsu.edu. Log on to their Facebook page for more information.

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